Written by John Williams
With well over 80% of the electricity used in New Zealand generated from renewable energy sources – and with a Government goal of having 100% renewable energy by 2030 – it’s reasonable and logical from an environmental standpoint to drive an electric vehicle (EV), more so than in most other countries around the world.
EVs may well be the perfect alternative to petrol-fuelled vehicles for the planet, but at a macro level, the day-to-day practicalities of running one can become a headache if you don’t have the luxury of a dedicated garage or parking space at home.
Frano Covic is the general Manager of Chargemaster, a New Zealand family-owned company that specialises in finding and supplying charging solutions for EV owners. Who better than to talk to about the challenges some Aucklanders are encountering when it comes to ‘fuelling’ their new wheels.
Let’s start with the elephant in the room. It would appear that a garage, or at the very least a private off-street parking space attached to your home, is a prerequisite to owning an EV. What are the workable alternatives for those who have neither?
“If you don’t have a garage, there is the option to have an outside power point installed. An electrician can quickly install a 20A socket with a waterproof casing if needs be. At Chargemaster, we also offer portable chargers with the 16A ‘blue commando’ plug, similar to what you will find at most campsites. Because they draw as much power as an oven, they’ll need a heavier cable to power them, plus their own circuit breaker on the switchboard.”
A third option is a ‘portable’ charger – a five-metre cable that plugs into an ordinary household socket at one end and your EV at the other. A charging box in the middle of the cable contains a comprehensive protection system and short-circuit protection device that allows for safe electric vehicle charging. These chargers can take anywhere from 15-20 hours to charge an electric vehicle, so they aren’t the most practical.
Alternatively, Covic says, there is an ever-growing public infrastructure of rapid DC chargers and AC chargers that can be found through the various charging apps, with more chargers being added nationally as the uptake of EVs increases.
“Rapid chargers can be found at various locations, including petrol stations (BP and Z) and shopping locations. This type of charger can recharge your EV up to 80% within 20-30minutes. Every charging station has different tariff set-ups, dependant on the site host, but the cost is on average works out to be the equivalent of $3 per 100km.”
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